Real estate lawyers are the individuals who work behind the scenes with home buyers and sellers to ensure that documents are negotiated fairly, fixes are assumed by the seller if necessary, and closings are navigated with finesse. While the area is rapidly expanding in popularity, this job certainly comes with its own set of benefits and challenges.
Typically lawyers start out practicing a different type of law and migrate into the real estate field after at least a few years of experience. Property classes in law school hardly mirror the real responsibilities affiliated with real estate law, so it’s helpful to have some background knowledge first. Sometimes lawyers choose to begin practicing real estate law to broaden the scope of an existing practice, and sometimes it’s a clean switch altogether.
Real estate law is considered friendlier than many of the other sub-sectors of legal practice. People are generally excited and positive about buying houses, which makes the process less angry than divorce law, for example.
Real estate law tends to yield more concrete results than other fields; it’s possible to drive by the house after the closing and appreciate that you were part of the process to help people move into it.
This job is never boring; actually there really is no typical schedule to begin with. Daily tasks depend entirely on your needs (see a sample list of what a real estate lawyer does here). You might be doing research, drafting contracts, negotiating documents, or facilitating closings on any given day.
Often, hours are long and include weekends and nights. There is real demand, with a lawyer conducting up to seven hundred closings per year. This means that closing multiple times in one day is not uncommon. Usually, clients like to see properties on the weekend, which means contracts start arriving at the fax machine bright and early Monday and Tuesday mornings. Days are fast paced and taxing, which means never a dull moment, but also little time for family and self-care.
Additionally, the real estate market is not a consistent animal. It pays to determine trends before you decide to switch to real estate law in order to ensure that the market has enough demand for your services in your geographic area.
Experienced real estate lawyers often recommend contacting existing real estate lawyers in your area and talk to them about the field before deciding to jump in. Utilizing connections and classes can mean the difference between a successful career switch and a flop.